With everything changing so quickly in the property market, it can be tricky for buyers and sellers to feel in control, which is why now is the right time to refocus on the factors that they can influence.

Roland Whyte

Roland Whyte

There is a need to focus on informed decision-making backed by concrete data. There is only one real source of private property information: the estate agent. But the agent cannot be 100% neutral. They want sellers to give them their business and tempt others into selling.

It is also worth noting that the data is often unreliable. Online tools can estimate value on demand, but the exact number is not revisited until the property is officially revalued.

People deserve accurate data on what property is worth and what they can afford, so that they can make decisions on buying, selling or even increasing the value of their property. They need to be able to make these decisions at any time, not just when their fixed-rate mortgage ends, and without having to liaise with an estate agent.

How can people do this if they can’t lower interest rates or alter property prices? The answer is simple: by using tools that give impartial data on properties to potential buyers.

For an idea of what that might look like, lets glimpse sideways to the world of investment services. Previously, advisers were able to take commissions from product providers that could undermine the impartiality of their advice. In 2012, the Retail Distribution Review was created, which banned the practice and introduced other reforms. The property market also needs a separation of information and transactions.


But even without mandatory schemes, better preparation and more proactivity from individuals will lead to better outcomes.


However, the market doesn’t need to wait for regulators to act. This can be done today by providing an impartial, data-led utility for the property market, free from ownership or the influence of those trying to drive deal volumes.

New tools can also give people more control over their property future. And once data becomes widely available, individuals will be able to better secure a future in the property market. This technology can allow for a far more accurate understanding of a given property than ever possible through traditional methods, giving buyers and sellers alike a wider range of information.

The fundamental usefulness of this idea is recognised by initiatives such as the Home Buying and Selling Group’s BASPI initiative, which wants sellers to compile a detailed information pack to facilitate a more informed selling process. But even without mandatory schemes, better preparation and more proactivity from individuals will lead to better outcomes.

With these tools, buyers, sellers and owners will be able to focus on what they can control, rather than worrying about what they can’t. Without dismissing or minimising the real challenges that many face, the property market needs a revamp, allowing people to have more say in their property’s fate and making necessary information accessible. When a perfect storm of external factors buffets households to and fro, it is more important than ever to take control where possible.

Roland Whyte is chief executive at Nokkel